Where We Began
TRINITY Evangelical Lutheran Church began to serve the community of Wyandanch in August of 1934. The congregation at the time consisted of 6 faithful Lutherans and the Church was called “ Trinity Chapel”. During her first years, the congregation gathered at the Republican Hall in Wyandanch and was pastored by The Reverend Frederick Preuss, pastor of St Luke’s Lutheran Church in Farmingdale on a very part time basis. These years of infancy saw a number of part time pastors serving Trinity in addition to their own congregations.
Shovel In The Ground
We Have Our Land
In August of 1937, Mrs Clara Olsen sold a parcel of her land , located on Straight Path and South 20th St. ,to the church for a minimal amount of money. Ground breaking to erect their first church was held on November 4, 1937 and was incorporated as Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church. The Divine Service was celebrated for the first time in 1938.
Many sacrifices were made to build the first church. It was built almost entirely by volunteer labor. In addition to the building itself gifts, were given for everything needed inside, from the Altar and Pulpit, to the lights and carpeting. People gave far and beyond their limited means to insure that the church would be complete and welcoming.
Pastor Thomas Van Pelt
Finding Our Pastor
In August 1939, Pastor Thomas Van Pelt was installed as part-time Pastor, even while he continued to serve Christ Lutheran Church in Wantagh. Pastor Van Pelt served until November 1947 during which time the still struggling but growing congregation was able to burn the mortgage and purchase a new organ! They even had saved enough money to purchase 5 additional lots for future church expansion.
Pastor resigned his call to Trinity and the congregation was continued to be served by part-time pastors who served full time calls in their congregations. They were Pr. J.C. Dries of Wantagh and Pr. R. Reitz of Lynbrook. These were the years between 1948 -1953.
Reverend Louis J Roder
We Begin To Grow
Trinity was now in the position to call her first full-time pastor, The Reverend Louis J Roder. This began a time of amazing growth for the congregation. They purchased the first parsonage and they had an enrollment of over 200 children for their Sunday School Program. Because the basement was too small to serve the Sunday School, the church needed to rent the local VFW Hall! In Nov. 1956 the cornerstone was laid in what was to be the new church building. However, they ran out of money and could only complete the basement. Pr. Roder left the congregation for another call in Connecticut in January 1957 and the congregation again had to rely on supply pastors. Especially noted was the Rev. Dr. Paul Kirsh who later became the Interim President (Bishop) of the NY and New England Synod.
Rev. james B Christ
Finish What We Started
Trinity’s second full time pastor was installed on Aug. 11, 1957, he was the Rev. James B Christ. The congregation got busy raising the additional monies to finish the work on the church building and the purchase of a larger parsonage. All this was accomplished in time to celebrate Trinity’s 25th Anniversary. Pr. Christ remained for ten years until he received another call to serve The Church elsewhere. That was May, 1967.
Trinity also became a much needed leader in the life of the Wyandanch community at large. Trinity initiated or were primary sponsors of the following:
Wyandanch Housing and Development Corp, and The Wyandanch Community Action Program.
Trinity provided space for: MLK Health Center, Babylon Mental Health, Wyandanch Head Start, Wyandanch Summer Day Camp Program, County Extension Nutrition Program and Lutheran Community Services.
Reverend David A Swanson
It was during the pastorate of Trinity’s third pastor, the Reverend David. A Swanson , in September of 1967 that Trinity Church grew in its ecumenical relationship with Our Lady of Miraculous Medal Roman Catholic Church. The two congregations engaged in joint ministries and special liturgies. Trinity also had an Associate Pastor for a period of time.
Reverend Ronald Bagnell
Ready For What God Has
Trinity and the whole Wyandanch community lamented when Pastor Swanson departed the community in March, 1972. He was succeeded by the Reverend Ronald Bagnall in March of 1972. Pastor Bagnall served Trinity, until May 1981 with faithfulness and genuine hospitality and is remembered fondly to this day by parishioners.
There were “some” who thought that perhaps Trinity Church had gone through its life-cycle and may cease to exist. But the people of God who were Christ’s disciples responded to the call of the Holy Spirit to “keep on, keepin’ on”. With the assistance of the Bishop of the MNYS, The Rev Dr Robert Rimbo asked The Reverend John Krahn to serve the congregation in their time of discernment. Pastor Krahn jumped in and started work with a newly constituted church council and the results are evident today. Faced with severe financial challenges and a basement that was infected by black mold and therefore unusable, they, the pastor and congregation worked out a budget, saw increase in stewardship and active participation in worship. The Holy Spirit was blowing new and renewed life into Trinity and the people of God were most thankful!
Pastor Mack Smith
To All Generations
The next pastor to be called to serve was The Rev. Mack H. Smith in May, 1981. His pastorate spanned a remarkable span of Thirty-Two Years! He retired from active ministry in July, 2012 and returned to his hometown of Rochester NY for a well -earned and deserved life of hopeful leisure. This congregation and indeed the whole of the Wyandanch community is indebted to his zeal and tireless efforts, especially in the area of youth and young adults that this FB website will dedicate a separate page to his pastorate.
Rev. Dr. John H. Krahn
Come and See!
Rev. Dr. John H. Krahn have been a clergy for over 50 years. He has three master’s degrees and a doctorate. Rev. Krahn specializes in evangelism and stewardship and is also an author of a dozen books and a lecturer.
Rev. Krahn served as an interim pastor at Trinity Lutheran Church of Wyandanch for 1 year in August 2012. During that time, Rev. Krahn’s goal was to increase attendance, and stabilized the congregation. He also negotiated a favorable contract with the Mercy Soup Kitchen that has blessed the congregation financially.
Because of the dedicated efforts of Pastor Krahn and the new lay leadership, Trinity began another season in her life cycle. “Amazing Things Are Happening Here, Come and See” became the mission and ministry of Trinity. What has been accomplished thus far is a direct result of God’s activity in the life of this community of faith. As members of the Body of Christ, Trinity was never alone in her severe and even continuing challenges.
That year was a time of healing and achievements. The Holy Spirit was blowing new and renewed life into Trinity and the people of God were most thankful!
Pastor Robert Rainis
Continuing The Renewed Living
The Reverend Robert M Rainis was called by the church council, with the advice and consent of the Metropolitan New York Synod, to serve as Trinity’s Term Call Pastor in February, 2013. Pastor Rainis assumed pastoral duties on March 1, 2013.
Pastor was born in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn in 1953 and raised in Richmond Hill, Queens. On July 21, 1989 he was married to Barbara Jean (Stein) at Ascension Church in Deer Park. This sacred union has blessed them with three children, (Andrew-23, Lauren-20, Zachary, 16).They have resided in Deer Park for the past twenty years and the family are members of Ascension.
Before entering the ministry, Pastor served twenty-five years as a police officer-supervisor in several law enforcement agencies. He was last employed as a Senior Investigator (Detective-Sergeant) with the Kings County District Attorney, City of New York. He retired after he sustained several severe and disabling injuries sustained in the line of duty. He was awarded Law Enforcement’s second highest award, the Police Combat Cross and is a member of the NYPD Honor Legion. Pastor currently serves as Chaplain for all the Detectives employed by the 5 DA Offices in NYC and is board-certified as a Police Chaplain.
Pastor’s theological training was what is commonly known as “non-traditional” in that he was not a resident/student in the normative 4 year process of a seminary. Master of Divinity (M.Div.) courses were accomplished at several seminaries under the guidance of Lutheran Theological Seminary, Philadelphia. These included, General Theological and New York Theological both in NYC. He graduated LTSP in 2011. Prior to seminary for ordination as a presbyter (pastor), he completed The Episcopal Church three year program for deacons at the George Mercer School of Theology, Garden City. He is a Board Certified Clinical Chaplain-CPSP, with extensive ministry in hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living facilities.
Prior to coming to serve at Trinity, pastor served several congregations as pastor or Pastoral Vicar. He was Pastor at Epiphany Church in Norwood, Bronx for five years and St Peter’s 140th St and New Hope for All Saints, both in the South Bronx. He served for as Pastoral Assistant at Gloria Dei, New Hyde Park for over a year. He was ordained on Dec.3, 2011 at the Episcopal Cathedral of the Incarnation, Garden City by the Rev. Dr. Robert Rimbo, Bishop ELCA-MNYS.
Pastor can be described as “Evangelical-Catholic” in matters of The Faith and Liturgy, a passionate preacher of the Word of God and IN LOVE with the members and community of Trinity-Wyandanch. He views himself as a partner with the congregation he serves to proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ to a sin-filled world. Pastor looks forward to a future of hope and promise, growth in discipleship and evangelism in and about the hamlet of Wyandanch.
Pastor William Munz
The Spirit of Mission
Pastor Munz came to Trinity Lutheran Church, Wyandanch in February 2016 to assist with the congregation’s ministry as the coverage and stated supply pastor, and functioned in that capacity until November 2017. During that time the congregation of dedicated disciples maintained an active and multi-faceted ministry, led by a very capable and deeply committed Congregation Council. Although their goal was to search for and call a part-time pastor, not having a permanent pastor did not in any way inhibit their enthusiasm and energy. During the twenty-one months that Pastor Munz was at Trinity, there never was a moment when the congregation was not actively involved in working for the future and reaching out to the community. They were determined to not only keep ministry going, but to expand and grow.
There was always a spirit of mission and a willingness to persevere against a number of challenges including financial ones and significant repair needs to the building. Thankfully the generosity of members and friends of the congregation, along with matching grants from the Metropolitan New York Synod enabled the congregation to upgrade the facility and maintain the vital Soup Kitchen Ministry that served the wider community. The congregation has been blessed with the most wonderful core of committed people who remain optimistic and emboldened by their confidence in the mission to which God has called them.
Trinity took an active role in the Western Suffolk Conference, including a homeless ministry, expanded stewardship programing, revitalized the Sunday Church School, shared in synodical training for council members as well as a seminar for congregational revitalization, completed the documentation for the call process and carried on enthusiastic Bible study. The need of the community for the weekday Soup Kitchen run by the Interfaith Nutrition Network and the Saturday Kitchen staffed by members and community groups has been a mainstay of Trinity’s enormous effort for social ministry and outreach.
Indeed, it was a wonderful privilege to serve at Trinity and share in their tireless efforts to be a testimony for Jesus Christ in that community. It was a true blessing to work side by side with the faith-filled brothers and sisters in Christ at Trinity. They became to me as family, and I will always thank God that I spent the conclusion of my ministry before retiring among such beautiful servants of our Lord.
Pastor Michael Thomas
We’re Just Getting Started
Rev. Michael A. Thomas is a rostered member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America for eighteen years. His call to service began in a mission church in the Bronx. While in that setting his hunger for the things of God increased.He became a member of the “diakonia program” and graduated in 1997.He received his theological education from General Theological Seminary in NY, and The Lutheran Theological seminary at Philadelphia. He was ordained in 2002 for the ministry of Word and Sacrament. He has faithfully served at St. Peter’s in the Bronx and as Pastor of New Hope for All Saints Lutheran Church. My desire for Trinity is with Gods help to use my experience in congregation growth to bring our church back to its former status and minister to those seeking in the community.